Mona Lisa Sound

MusicJOT® for iOS® Coming Soon!

The fastest way to notate music since paper and pencil.

  • Overview
  • Media
  • Features
  • Palettes
  • Tech Specs
  • Tutorials
  • About Us
  • Support

Virtual Pointer™ Technology

MusicJOT's revolutionary Virtual Pointer (VP) technology lets you get the precision of a stylus with just your finger. Drag the VP around, and the score under the pointer gets magnified. You can tap to select a note or just drag around. The VP will sound the note you are over and display its name and octave.

The VP can be set to sound single notes, whole chords or scrub your entire score.

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A convenient shortcuts window slides out from the left side for easy access to often used features. In addition, you can show/hide various score elements with layers. Very handy in removing clutter when you just want to concentrate on the music.

Quickly transpose notes up/down by octave, turn notes into rests and back again, add ties, common 8th note triplets, and the most often used forward/backward repeat pair.

Show/hide notes, text, lyrics, shapes (such as slurs, hairpins, accelerandos, ottava signs, etc.), and marks (such as articulations, ornaments and dynamics).

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User Adjustable Options

MusicJOT is completely customizable. From staff line weight to measure padding to beam angles to music spacing. Make your own 'house rules.'

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MusicJOT video (6:47)

Here's a short demonstration of MusicJOT in action.

MusicJOT In Action

Basic features


  • Natural Handwriting Recognition
  • 16 music palettes
  • Export to MusicXML
  • Export to MIDI
  • Staffs limited only by memory
  • 128 General MIDI sounds
  • Cut, copy, paste, undo and redo


  • Unlimited view sizes
  • Live spacing
  • Go to measure #
  • Scroll by measure, page


  • Drag up/down for pitch
  • Drag left/right for duration
  • Double flats to double sharps
  • Grace notes
  • Half step transpositions
  • Octave transpositions
  • Tuplets of any type

Dynamics (playback enabled)

  • Crescendo, decrescendo
  • ppp - fff, sfz, fp

Tempos (playback enabled)

  • Tempo text
  • Font, size, style
  • Beats per note duration

Clefs, keys, meters

  • Change selected only
  • Change selected to next change
  • Change selected to end
  • Mid-measure clef changes
  • Keys transpose up, down or none
  • Measure duration clipping
  • Automatic transpositions


  • Free form text
  • Placement - above/below staff
  • Border option for rehearsal letters
  • Font, size, style

Articulations & Ornaments

  • Staccato
  • Marcato
  • Accent
  • Tenuto
  • Harmonic
  • Left hand pizzicato
  • Fermata
  • Up and down bows
  • Roll chord
  • Turn
  • Mordent
  • Trill
  • Trill flat
  • Trill natural
  • Trill sharp
  • Cesura
  • Breath
  • Pedal on/off
  • L.H.
  • R.H.
  • Roman numerals (I - V)
  • Numbers (0 - 5)


  • Show/hide shapes
  • Glissando
  • Bend hat
  • Tie
  • Slur
  • 8va, 8vb
  • 15ma, 15mb
  • Accelerando/Ritardando


  • Free, verse, chorus of unlimited number
  • Auto flow into score
  • Duplicate
  • Find in score
  • Span notes, group words, melismas


  • Normal, double, solid, dotted, final
  • Repeats (playback enabled)
  • Show repeat map (road map)
  • Backwards, forwards, 1st and 2nd endings
  • DC, DS, Del Segno, Coda, Finé

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Advanced features

Auto Menus

When on, selecting a note event automatically slides the NOT (note) palette into view. Selecting a slur slides the SHA (shapes) palette into view, etc.

Illegal Measure Buttons

MusicJOT allows you to compose freely without meter restrictions, but will indicate measures that are not meter compliant in duration by placing a small not equal (illegal measure) button in measures that do not comply. To fix a measure automatically, just tap the button. MusicJOT will either truncate or add rests to the measure.

Shortcuts window

Placing your finger on the bevel of the iPad just to the left of the screen and quickly dragging to the left will bring up the shortcuts window. Here you'll find some often used tools grouped in one easy to use place. Here you can also show/hide various musical elements with layers.

Virtual Pointer

If you don't have a stylus, the virtual pointer is a neat way to select interior chordal notes or notes that are just very close together. In addition, the VP acts as a live music scrubber, sounding individual notes, chords, or the entire score.

Visual Road Map

If you have a complicated repeat structure in your score (1st and 2nd endings, del segnos, etc.) bring up the road map window from either the REP (repeats) palette or the AUD (audio) palette by tapping on Map. This window shows how the score will play according to your repeat structure. You can tap on any line in the road map window and the relevant measures will be highlighted in the master measure view (the thin bar below the palettes that contain the measure numbers).

Help System

MusicJOT has sophisticated help comprising both a set of 22 tutorials that can be worked through while composing, and a context sensitive system that explains every control in the program. The context sensitive system also makes each control trigger a jump to the relevant text explanation in its window.

Playback Supported Events

Currently, MusicJOT supports playback of the basic dynamics (ppp - fff) and tempo markings. Future versions will support much more.

Music Spacing

MusicJOT uses a sophisticated algorithm for spacing music which can be mitigated in various ways. First, a spacing slider in the NAV (navigation) palette allows you to expand or tighten the spacing. Second, dragging the bar line in the master measure view (the thin bar just below the palettes with the measure numbers) to the right will open up space at the end of a measure. If this is done, the affected measure number turns red indicating it has been altered. A long press on the same bar line will snap the measure back to its default width. And third, there are a number of options under the actions menu:Options:Spacing that you can play with.

Transposing Instruments

MusicJOT allows for all of the standard instrument transpositions. Under the actions menu:Options:Transposing Instruments, you will find additional controls for both displaying and inserting in concert pitch.

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16 Sliding palettes provide a wealth of notation functionality.

In the rare event that your handwriting is too sloppy to be recognized or we have not yet implemented the recognition of certain symbols (we're working constantly to upgrade and expand the handwriting repertoire and accuracy), MusicJOT provides copious backup palette funtionality.

Navigation, Notes, Dynamics, Tempos

Clefs, Keys, Meters, Text

Articulations, Ornaments, Shapes, Lyrics

Bars, Repeats, Tuplets, Audio

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Computer system requirements.

Below are the minimum hardware and operating system requirements for MusicJOT for iOS.


Apple iOS 8 or higher

Apple iPad

iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad Mini, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 4, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Retina, 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro

Optional Accessories

Apple Pencil, Adonit Jot Touch (active stylus), or any passive stylus

Getting Started

Here is a set of 20 short tutorials. These tutorials, exactly as you see them below are also always available from within MusicJOT, so if you forget how to do something, help is right at your fingertips. In addition to these tutorials, MusicJOT features a context sensitive help system for each and every control. Invoking context sensitive help turns the action of tapping on a control from its normal action into a pop-up textual guide for that control.

Start here
Back Page 1 of 20 Next

John Reed

Professional cellist, co-founder and principal arranger for Grammy® nominated, Juilliard trained, The Hampton [Rock] String Quartet® (HSQ). HSQ has sold over 1 million CDs worldwide and their rock video, Get A Job was aired on MTV and VH1. HSQ arrangements have been played around the world and featured on the hit HBO series True Blood. HSQ has performed on The Today Show and numerous radio and TV spots from NYC to Liverpool. The members of HSQ have performed with Depeche Mode at Madison Square Garden and *NSYNC at Radio City Music Hall for the 2000 MTV Awards, as well as with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Sting, Paul Simon, and Aerosmith, to name just a few.

John is the founder and president of Mona Lisa Sound (MLS), Past President of the String Industry Council and Past Board Member of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). MLS is the premier source for rock string quartet sheet music. John has written over 100 string quartet arrangements.

John has been a computer programmer since 1979 (self-taught) and is the principal developer and programmer for MusicJOT®.

Mark Dalrymple

Software developer and instructor, author of Advanced Mac OS X Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide.

Mark is also an accomplished trombone and bassoon player and plays with many groups.

Mark has been programming since 1979, and professionally since 1990. He has had software running on Wall Street trading desks and in space (literally). NASA was running a trial program for an electronic help desk using Visix Galaxy™. Mark wrote some of that code. His code can also be found on millions of Mac desktops.

He is a co-founder of CocoaHeads, an international Mac and iOS developers society, with chapters in 40 countries spanning six continents.


Special thanks to Adam Coti for his expertise in templating this site for me and thanks to Janna Glasser for putting up with my ups and downs through this long haul. I also want to thank Fred Flowerday and everyone at MakeMusic for granting us use of their beautiful Maestro® music font. And of course, thanks to our friends at MyScript® for making awesome handwriting recognition technology.

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Maestro © 1999 MakeMusic, Inc. All rights reserved. Maestro is a trademark of MakeMusic, Inc.
MyScript © 2014.


Q: MusicJOT is either not recognizing, or misinterpreting what I've written.

A: Try zooming in on the score before starting in Script mode and write as neatly as possible.

Q: I don't see a way to print my score.

A: The workflow in MusicJOT should follow thus: compose your music, export to a MIDI or MusicXML file, then bring it into a desktop music notation program (we recommend Finale by MakeMusic) and use their printing capabilities.

Q: I don't see a way to have more than one voice per staff as is common in piano music.

A: Multiple voices per staff is not yet supported but is a top priority for our next release.

Q: I don't see a way to format my score as a page.

A: As MusicJOT is designed to get down ideas quickly and not as an engraver-quality notation package, we suggest exporting via MusicXML and importing into Finale for your final formatting and printing.

Q: Is there a way to delete a note with my handwriting by just crossing stuff out?

A: Yes. Scribble out a note to delete. You can also draw a big circle around note/events (circle must extend both above and below the staff), then tap on the trash. If you are using the Adonit Stylus Jot Touch, you can use the top button (configurable in the Actions menu:Script:Configure Adonit Jot Stylus.

Q: Every time I go into Script mode, my status bar dims.

A: This is on purpose to avoid unintentional triggering of any of the status bar controls.

Q: Moving the virtual pointer over a note is slow in sounding.

A: On early iPad models, this is a known issue. Turning off the live sound (the speaker icon at top) will speed things up considerably.

Q: I can't bring up the shortcuts window.

A: You may be placing your finger to far off the bevel or dragging to the right too slowly.

Q: I notice that the status bar correctly has the number of staffs, groups, measures, notes, keys and meters. But the number of beats is 0 (zero).

A: MusicJOT doesn't evaluate your score musically until the AUD (audio) palette is invoked. Doing so is necessary to update the beats value in the status bar.

Known issues

Presently there is no support for multiple voices per staff. We expect to have that feature very soon.

Not all actions are undo-able. Presently, deleting measures and staffs is not undo-able.

Copy and paste will only paste into empty measures or at the end of existing measures. We are working on much more sophisticated controls.

Future support for guitar tablature or chord diagrams.

Future support for inter-staff beaming or slurring.

Future support for percussion assignations.

Accidentals can sometimes collide in dense chords. We are working on this.

Deleting or adding measures with a complicated set of repeats in place is not updating road map.

Future support for measure-attached text.

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While we are working hard to improve MusicJOT's handwriting recognition, this first version has some known limitations.


Writing a natural before a note that already has an accidental will have no effect. Instead, scratch out the existing accidental.

Key signature changes are recognized more reliably if put before a meter change.

Staccato dots should be put near the note head. If you put them above the stem instead, they will be interpreted as a duration dot.

Mid measure clefs cannot exist without any notes following them. Therefore, you may write a clef change in between existing notes or any place as long as you also write a new note after the clef.

The scratch-out gesture should look like an 'M' with extra down and up strokes and with sharp corners.

Articulations (staccatos, accents, etc.) cannot be scratched out (deleted) except with the trash can in Insert/Chord mode.

Trying to add a flag or beam to already rendered notes will not have the desired effect. In effect, pre-existing notes can only be changed by adding accidentals, ornaments, articulations, slurs, etc., but not changing their durations except with a duration dot.

Currently can't scratch out key signatures or individual sharps/flats in a key signature.

Bar lines and repeats are not yet supported and could lead to document confusion.

Tuplets not yet fully supported.

Chord promotion - adding a new note to a single, already rendered note is not yet supported. If the 'slot' already is a chord, i.e. - has more than one note, than MusicJOT will allow you to add additional notes in scripting mode.